Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 07, 2021 (SKNIS): The fight against the deadly COVID-19 virus continues locally as the third wave of community spread affects the Federation. With several schools across the Federation affected, the Medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph N. France General Hospital (JNF), Dr. Cameron Wilkinson, has indicated that discussions are ongoing with education officials as to the way forward.
“We have plans to take the vaccination programme to schools, on October 5, 2021. We had discussions with executives within the Ministry of Education. Present in the meeting, we had all headteachers and deputy headteachers of the primary and secondary schools and persons from the early childhood development programme. We spoke about the vaccines and the plan to educate the parents and teenagers about vaccination. We will be having a number of virtual Parent Teachers Association (PTA) meetings with parents and guardians who need more information. On October 7, 2021, I will be speaking virtually with a number of the schools and answering any questions they may have. Within the following week, we should be scheduling sessions where the teenagers can come in with their parents or guardians to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Wilkinson.
The Medical Chief of Staff further stated that persons should not wait until these sessions to step forward and get vaccinated, stressing the safety and efficacy of the vaccines available in the Federation. Dr. Wilkinson indicated that the only way to ensure the somewhat smooth functioning of in-person learning is by ensuring that school children are vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Virtual learning is not for every single one and I sympathize with the children who are going to school today…We need to get our children back in the classroom. The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education are working collaboratively to try and get our children back in classrooms but we cannot do it without you. Every teacher has a responsibility to do the responsible thing and try and protect the students who they are entrusted to care for and if they want to keep the schools open they would need to go forward and do the right thing and get vaccinated,” said Dr. Wilkinson.
Dr. Wilkinson urged that all children between 12 and 18 years old be vaccinated at the soonest possible time in an effort to receive protection against COVID-19. So far, the COVID-19 vaccination programme has been a great success with over 76 percent of the target adult population of the Federation vaccinated against COVID-19, with 69 percent fully vaccinated.